New Fiction: People Juice

I dream of getting back into a routine…but it just ain’t happening right now.  I’m going through an awesome if somewhat disruptive learning process right now, complete with attendant mood swings (“I can’t write worth a damn!” “This is so much more awesome than anything I’ve written before!” etc.), and I’m not sure which way is up these days, let alone how to think more than one step ahead.

But when I think about what  might happen when I get a grasp on this, I twitch with excitement.  So I’m going to say I’m headed in the right direction.

I’m not sure how things are going to go for the next few weeks; I may not get a lot of blogging done.

At any rate, I do have a new story up, under another pen name.  I hadn’t planned to whip this name out until I got YOUR SOUFFLE MUST DIE out, but it really is that same sensibility.  Sam from YSMD is shinier…but just as violent, underneath it all.

So:

People Juice

by Diane R. Thompson*

(available at Smashwords, B&N, Amazon, and more)

If there’s one thing that can ruin your workday, it’s getting harassed. Beautiful, blonde Jackie has figured out how to handle it—most of the time. But last Friday she almost got snagged in the parking lot by a guy in a hoodie wearing too much aftershave, and now she’s out for revenge.

People juice. It’s what I call my ability to handle other people and their idiot problems. I’m not shy, but I’m an introvert—being around other people just sucks the energy out of me. So when I’m out of people juice, that’s it. It doesn’t matter whether I’m having the time of my life or I’m at my ex-in-laws’ house. Love ya, gotta go, goodbye.

Fortunately, not many people notice at work. I’m in Quality Analysis at Bell-Maus Software Design, and everyone thinks I’m a stuck-up bitch out to get them. And the guys who hit on me don’t notice anything but my breasts anyway.

Hit on me. Good phrase.

So Monday I come into the office with a black eye. I’m making coffee in the tiny break area, because I’m the only blonde chick in the office, and if I don’t make coffee it’ll look weird.

José comes up behind me and tries to rub up against my butt as he slides past me to the fridge, but I twist out of the way and shove him from behind, so he gets cock-blocked by the garbage can.

“Hey!” he says. “What did you do that for?”

“What?” I say.

“Push me.”

I shake my head. “No way, José.” He hates that.

“You did!”

“Awww, did somebody lose his balance and decide to blame the dumb blonde?”

He finally manages to get his eyes out of my cleavage, sees the black eye, and says, “What happened to your eye?” Then the jerk tries to feel me up again.

“Fender bender,” I said. “Friday night. Some guy in a hoodie tried to jump me in the parking lot, then rammed me from behind when I got in my car. I whiplashed into the steering wheel. As if you didn’t know.”

I step aside, pour myself a cup of rancid coffee, and sip it noisily. Last warning. He’s wearing a white shirt, and I’ve performed scattershot on him before.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I didn’t get a look at the guy, but I smelled him. And you were working late last Friday, too.” I take a deep whiff of his aftershave.

He splutters. “Are you accusing me?”

“Change your aftershave recently, José?”

He leaves the break area without another word, and yeah, he’s so mad that he forgets to pretend that the only way he can get around me is by bumping uglies. He’s in his supervisor’s cube faster than you can say “preemptive accusation of sexual harassment.”

I like messing with José. It doesn’t use up much of my juice.

*R is for “Raclette.”  Foodie pen names need foodie middle names: it’s a melty cheese that’s traditionally toasted in front of a fire, then served melted on potatoes with pickles. Yum, right?

 

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People Juice – Diane R. Thompson

2 Comments

  1. Liz

    I’ve been having the same mood swings. Then last night while I was trying to fall asleep (of course), I had a flurry of ideas of how to get back on track and about a million explosions of writing-related positivity going off in my brain.

    Love that cover design.

  2. De

    Thank you 🙂

    And ugh, brain, why not do that kind of thing first thing in the morning, when I have the energy to deal with it? But brain never listens.

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